Posts tagged ‘Black Canary’

Detective 560 – Robin and Catwoman answer the call, and Green Arrow and Black Canary eat lunch

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A very moody cover for Detective 660 (March 1986), and I was expecting a Batman solo story, but Moench and Colan go a different way.

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Batman does, indeed, go off to sit by himself in a cave and brood, reflect on his origin and training, and look all solemn, sad and spooky. But he sets things up with Harvey Bullock to make Catwoman a true member of his team.

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It’s also to force Robin to have to work with Catwoman, which Jason Todd is reluctant to do, feeling that he is betraying Nocturna.  But they track down some cop killing Savage Skulls, and bond.

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The only problem is that Catwoman has been softened to such an open and accepting person that it hardly feels like it’s really her.

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Black Canary shares the billing with Green Arrow on this excellent story lead off by Cavalieri and Moore.  The phrase, “does that make me a bad guy?” ends three different scenes in the tale, playing differently each time.

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We meet Champion, who uses his powerful costume to help those who can pay for his services.  He compares himself to any other trained professional, arguing that he is not required to do heroics for free.

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Dinah argues with Oliver over her idea to go undercover and fight crime from the inside, the way her mother had originally.  An odd way to go about breaking out of her mother’s shadow, but whatever.  The landlord comes by to raise the rent, and basic economics are the root of the second time the question is asked.

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And finally, Steelclaw introduced, a powerful villain being hired by the mob, who turns the tables on them and demands a cut of the action.  He is definitely a bad guy.

Detective 559 – Bruce and Selina and Oliver and Dinah

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It’s mixed doubles in Detective 559 (Feb. 86), as Moench and Colan bring together Batman, Catwoman, Green Arrow and Black Canary in a story about corporate malfeasance and sabotage.

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It begins as Green Arrow stops Batman from apprehending a thief.  Green Arrow knows the man, and his beef against the Kremson corporation, and sympathizes with his struggle against them, while Batman is furious that Arrow would flout the laws in Gotham.

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Black Canary steps in to try to play peacemaker, but the guys continue their fight.

The best thing about this story is also the worst thing.  The arguments between Batman and Green Arrow are excellent, thought-provoking and entertaining, as each have valid points.  But the story consists largely of panels of the two of them talking.

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Catwoman gets enlisted by Batman to go undercover at Kremson and find out more about what is going on.  Her cover gets busted right away though, so we do get to see all four in costume by the end.

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While Batman and Green Arrow are given some conflict, Black Canary and Catwoman just relax and get along with each other.  It works, but it’s a bit of a cop out.  I cannot think of another story that has them happily clinking coffee mugs together.

 

 

 

Detective 554 – Black Canary changes clothes

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Detective 554 (Sept. 85) features a cover based on the one that introduced the original Black Canary back in 1940s in Flash Comics, which was in turn based on the cover of Detective that introduced Robin, this time debuting a new costume for Black Canary

And not much is missed by not featuring the Batman story on the cover.  It’s a run of the mill piece, dealing with smugglers.

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Joey Cavalieri, Jerome K Moore and Burce Patterson even give Black canary top billing in this story.  She deserves it, but it’s still a shock, considering that she often gets no billing for her appearances in Green Arrow.

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In perusing her mothers notes on her cases, Dinah realizes that her reaction to Bonfire was based on her mother’s reaction in a similar case, and that the imprinting of her mother’s memories onto her had been controlling her choices and actions.

This pertains to the recent revelation in Justice League that Dinah was the daughter of the Earth-2 Black Canary, not the same woman, as she had believed since coming to Earth-1 in JLA 75.

To help distinguish herself from her mother she adopts a new costume.  Not a bad idea, and the costume does look much better in the issue itself than on the cover, but it sure became unpopular very fast.

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No longer feeling hampered by her mother’s past, Dinah seeks out Bonfire, and defeats her using her sonic cry, her own personal power, one that her mother never had.

Detective 553 – Batman vs Black Mask, and Black Canary gets burned

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It’s another middle chapter in Detective 553 (Aug. 85), as Doug Moench and Klaus Janson continue the first appearance of Black Mask.

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Roman Sionis is Black Mask, and runs a gang of criminals called the False Face Society.  Sionis places great importance on masks, and the freedom of action they allow.  As much as he is a gang leader, he is almost as much a cult leader, with the way he preaches to his men, and the sick, defacing things he has them do to themselves.

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Roman’s lover, Circe, is as much a victim of him as anyone else. I am fairly certain this relationship inspired the one between the Joker and Jerry Hall in the first Batman film, as he mars her face and makes her wear a mask, just as Sionis does with Circe.

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Even the style of mask he has her wear resembles the one from the film.

The story concludes in the next issue of Batman.

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The strip says Green Arrow, but this story belongs to Black Canary.  Cavalieri, Moore and Patterson give her a two-parter that leads to her very unpopular costume change.

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Black Canary is feeling really down on herself after losing a fight to Bonfire, an arsonist who produces her own flames.

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Green Arrow looks at the motivation behind the fires, suspecting that they have been arranged by the slumlords who own the buildings, to get the insurance.

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This half concludes with Dinah reviewing a scrapbook of her mother;’s achievements as Black Canary, and ends with her making a surprising discovery.

Detective 550 – a tale of woe, and a tale of vengeance

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Doug Moench and Pat Broederick venture into the background of a criminal in Detective 550 (May 1985).  This type of Batman story goes all the way back to the 40s, and are clearly cautionary tales for the kids reading the books.  Even still, when done right, they work.

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Many of the usual scenes are given, abusive and negligent parents, isolation, poverty.  But the story also pretty clearly shows that it is the boy’s choices, not just his situation, that has lead him down this dark path.

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Broederick’s art works well on Batman, particularly on the last two issues, which were more about gritty reality than evocative moods.

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The story does not shy away with it’s ending. The boy chooses to jump to his death, rather than be caught by Batman, and the story follows him to hell, which is inhabited by giant spiders, it seems, and represented on the cover, sans Batman.

I probably could have done without the giant hell spiders, but otherwise a good tale.

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Arrow-Man shoots Black Canary right at the top of the second half of Alan Moore and Klaus Janson’s story.

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Green Arrow gets her to a hospital, and then spends the rest of the story tracking, and catching, the shooter.  The Olympics metaphor in the narration doesn’t work quite as well as in the first half.

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The final scene is in the hospital with Dinah, although the mentally disturbed felon from the first story makes a funny cameo.  I’m glad Black Canary got some action in the first half, as the second reduces her to just the injured girlfriend.

Detective 549 – Harvey Bullock gets the spotlight, and Black Canary finally appears

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Detective 549 (April 1985) gives Harvey Bullock a starring role in a one issue tale by Doug Moench and Pat Broederick.

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Bullock is a fan of classic movies,he has his apartment decorated with posters of them.  He envisions himself as a tough guy hero,along the lines of Bogart.  He narrates the story in a reflection of this.

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He had been in minor confrontations with some punks who hung out on his street, but when he discovers that they broke into his place, and spray painted the walls, and the posters, he goes ballistic.

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Batman is drawn by the street fight, and helps Bullock.  It’s a nice male bonding moment for the two men, pounding the crap out of some kids.

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Alan Moore scripts a 2-part Green Arrow story, beginning in this issue, with art by Klaus Janson.  The narrative voice for the two issues compares the situations occurring to events in an Olympics. It’s a good story, but not one of Alan Moore’s greats.

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Green Arrow stops a thief who seems to have some major psychological problems, which keeps him busy.

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Black Canary, making her first appearance in Green Arrow’s series since it moved to Detective, isn’t even recognized by the men she takes down.

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The villain in the story isn’t named. But as he’s an obnoxious, treacherous, murdering bastard, who doesn’t want to be called Arrow-Man, I am going to call him Arrow-Man.

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The first part ends as he sets his sights on Green Arrow and Black Canary.

Detective 468 – The Calculator vs Batman

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The big finale to the Calculator sage, by Bob Rozakis, Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin takes up all of Detective 468 (March/April 1977).

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As Hawkman predicted last issue, the Calculator does indeed go up against Batman, and is defeated by him, as he was with all the previous heroes.  But once again, he presses that special button.

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One thing that makes this story entertaining is its use of Morgan Edge, normally a supporting character in the Superman books.  He is trying to secure Bruce Wayne’s vote on the sales of a division of Galaxy Communications, and though he does, in the end, give Batman the inspiration for beating the Calculator, he never does get the signature he needs.

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The effect of the Calculator’s special button is to ensure that he cannot be beaten a second time by a given hero.  It’s never really clear how his machine does this, or any of the other amazing things it does.  But it does make for a great spread, as the heroes take each other down.  The Atom, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Green Arrow and Hawkman all have small roles in this story, but it’s really a Batman tale, not even a team-up.

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Ultimately, Batman outwits the Calculator, and has him defeat himself. Batman goads him into creating a cage, while standing on a spinnable floor.  The Calculator winds up trapped by his own creation.

Likely because his suit was never really explainable, the Calcualtor did not move on from this introductory run to become a major player.  He next appeared against the Atom in the early 80s, in the pages of Action Comics, and would pop up from time to time in different books.  It was not until the millennium that he got reworked into an impressive villain again.

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